Friday, February 18, 2011

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

After that invigorating swim in the waters of ignorance last night (and this afternoon) I feel inspired to write a bit about education.

I read this article yesterday, a story about a teacher, Natalie Munroe, who has been suspended and is fighting for her job because of what she wrote on her personal blog. (sometimes I wonder if I'll lose a job because of this blog, but if I do then I probably wouldn't be happy with the job anyway.)

She said
"My students are out of control," Munroe, who has taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades, wrote in one post. "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying."
 And in another post, Munroe — who is more than eight months pregnant — quotes from the musical "Bye Bye Birdie": "Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS."
 She also listed some comments she wished she could post on student evaluations, including: "I hear the trash company is hiring"; "I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son"; and "Just as bad as his sibling. Don't you know how to raise kids?"

I read this and did a double take "whaaaat?" I said. "This is like the long lost twin of my English teacher senior year"...except he wasn't fired for...oh wait, he kinda was. That's not what the principal would have claimed, but he was fired for taking his job seriously and making kids earn their grades...but he made it fun. At least his AP kids found it fun, that could just be because AP kids are freaks though.

 She also said

Munroe pointed out that she also said positive things, but she acknowledges that she did write some things out of frustration — and of a feeling that many kids today are being given a free pass at school and at home.
"Parents are more trying to be their kids' friends and less trying to be their parent," Munroe said, also noting students' lack of patience. "They want everything right now. They want it yesterday."

I'm only 20 and I agree here. Students have entitlement issues. "You can't give me a bad grade, I have (list of excuses)". Uh, actually she can give you a bad grade, she is your teacher. Did you do the work? Did you do it to the standards the teacher set forth? Did you ask for an extension if you had problems at home or school? Unless you did those things then the teacher is perfectly with in their right to give you a bad grade. That's what school is.

I got a few bad grades in my day (usually in math class...especially geometry), but I never bitched and moaned about how the teacher should listen to my excuses about why they couldn't give me a bad grade.* I took the grade and tried to do better next time.

One of her former students (now in college, she clearly did something right) said:

"As far as motivated high school students, she's completely correct. High school kids don't want to do anything. ... It's a teacher's job, however, to give students the motivation to learn." 

First of all, I'm he saying motivated students don't want to do anything? I think by saying they are motivated that should negate that idea immediately.
Also, what's that old saying...oh yes "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." You can give kids the tools to learn, but only they are ever going to find motivation. You can help by showing them how fun learning can be or how it will benefit them in the future, but, ultimately, it is up to each student to find the motivation to do well.

Her lawyer says this is a free speech issue and I agree. If people can't express themselves, anonymously, on the internet then where can they express themselves? Firing her for a blog would be ridiculous, especially since she was not forcing her students to read it.

"She could have been any person, any teacher in America writing about their lives," he said, pointing out that Munroe blogged about 85 times and that only about 15 to 20 of the posts involved her being a teacher. "It's honest and raw and a little edgy depending on your taste. ... She has a deep frustration for the educational system in America." - Munroe's lawyer

*The only time I did this was in 10th grade English when I had the flu and so I had to stay home and write my paper (can't remember what it was about now) and had to get my mom to do "peer editing" which took a while. I turned in the paper a few days late and lost two letter grades even though the teacher had told me it was okay to turn it in late and it wouldn't count against my grade. That was the only time I ever got a failing grade for a semester of English.
On a side note, if a teacher ever tells you something like that GET.IT.IN.WRITING! I don't care how much you like the teacher or trust them, sometimes they will forget (or intentionally screw you over like this one did) and having a signed confessio...uh, contract, will help.

oh no...I'm so scared

The facebookers from yesterday have found my blog, I'm so terrified...wait, not so much.

I bet that took a lot of work.

I mean it isn't like I post links to my blog everywhere and or have the url for my website as one of the few things that is public on my facebook...

Oh wait, I do. It took them all of 5 seconds between mocking my facebook profile pictures to scroll down to the "website" section and post a link to this blog. I'm absolutely impressed by their efforts toward...well I'm not sure what they think this will do. I just get more blog hits, probably more readers and is that ever going to hurt me.


I stand by what I said about the photo. The lighting was off, didn't match the lighting in the background and it looked like a magazine photo had been cut out and pasted on a background. Maybe that was not the case, I will only say what my observation was. I'm not a professional photographer, but I have taken a class or two and read a few books on the subject (also I take pictures of everything...) and I have, y'know, eyes.

Also, I most certainly was not the one who reported the photograph. I didn't have any reason to. I voted on the photo I liked and that was that. I never even went back to see what the votes were until this whole scandal started. I wasn't even aware who was in the lead until the magazine posted an update on the top three in the race. *shrug* Oh well, they will believe what they like.

Unless they start commenting (and vulgar commentary WILL be removed, no need for my loyal readers to put up with that...I'm the only one who gets to be vulgar on here :P ) this will be the last post on the subject.

I'm still visiting the page and laughing hysterically when they keep commenting and trying to get me to come back into the "discussion". They must really miss me, I did not know I was that awesome!

I never claimed that I posted the full conversation, I only posted enough to give you, my readers, a taste of what happened. I didn't feel the need to post every nasty comment, because it would have just gotten repetitive. If you feel I left out enough to make it impossible to tell if these "ladies" were justified in their comments about me then please let me know.

Ironically, the more they post things like
I love how intellectuals feel like they r so much better than everyone else n that their shit don't stink. That's y they alienate themselves n live a lonely life and can't find a significant other cuz no one can stand their bullshit haha so go blog ur ass off cuz now everyone knows ho...w miserable n lonely u r.
 the better I feel about myself. So many incorrect statements here. I'm not miserable or lonely, I have brilliant, beautiful wonderful friends and family (issues with my parents not-withstanding). I write and sing and read and do so many things to better myself and here they are...not even able to spell their insults correctly or without using chat speak.
I can find a significant other, but I don't choose to jump into bed with just anyone because that's not what I'm looking for and, strangely enough, sex is not that important to me. It's nice, yes, but I would prefer to have dozens of amazing friends and never have sex again than have fake friends and jump from bed to bed every weekend.

Wow, I feel amazing. Isn't that weird? Thank you crazy facebookers!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I weep for how stupid people are...and then I become a smart ass.

I'm working on an editorial for a new magazine in my state (480 magazine, first issue in April, for those who care) and I follow them on twitter and facebook, since that's what any good (semi)employee should do...I guess. Maybe not considering the ridiculously, mind-numbingly stupid people that seem to make up a good portion of the other people who follow the page.

Okay, to be fair, this incident only included maybe 20 of the 430 people on the page, but still...

I won't link it...since then you crazy followers could find my personal facebook page and well...that's not happening.

I'll give you a rundown on the situation that opened this whole can of worms first.

The magazine had an "Arizona's Hottest Model" contest going on, or something like that. Anyway, people would send in a picture of them and it would be posted on the page and the fans could go through and vote on the pictures by clicking "like" on their favorite one. Whoever got the most likes won (don't ask me what, that was never established).

The funny thing about pictures on facebook is that you can report them if you find them offensive and if they are reported enough, facebook will remove them. The girl what was winning the contest had this happen to her photo, probably some people wanted someone else to win so they reported her photo a bunch of times and got it removed. (I'll pause to let you know that the photo had been airbrushed and photoshopped so much that it was ridiculous, how anyone could believe it was a real photo I do not know. I didn't vote for her, that's for sure.)
So the magazine did what they needed to do. They uploaded the picture and told everyone, that facebook had removed the picture and they had uploaded it again and anyone who had voted on the picture before should go back and re-vote.

This started a shit storm of anger like you wouldn't believe. People were posting all over the page's wall about how the whole contest was rigged and the girl withdrew her picture instead of letting people vote again, talk about over-reacting.

That's when it got worse though.The comments turned from this

If you are a "Professional" you would be responding to this issue "professionally".. Instead of attacking the people who are responding to the crap you are giving them by the photo "misteriously" being deleted..Thats crap! You need to RESTART EVERYONE in order to keep it fair!!
and this



(spelling errors intact by the way...I don't think even one person posted anything that was properly spelled or grammatically correct in any way at all)

To this

No one wants to read your PIECE OF SHIT MAGAZINE!!! nothing but fuckin SCAM ARTISTS!!! GO SWALLOW A FAT ONE!!!
This magazine is gonna wish they never screwed Macy over! N they are gonna learn a hard lesson dont fuck with the De La Lama Family after u gyys are donedoing damage to this magazine!!!

 Yeah, it was like that.
Me, being me, decided to step up and try to calm people down. Give them a different perspective and maybe make them see reason.

I forgot that this was a bunch of, nearly, illiterate, pissed off facebook fiends.

I said this

They never said they "lost" her picture. They said that facebook took it down, which happens if a picture is reported enough times. They put it back up and told people to go put their vote in again.
Perhaps it could have been dealt with better, but this was not the magazines fault. It certainly isn't a good reason for the nasty, repulsive and downright rude comments that people have posted on this page.
In response to a, fairly coherent, post about why this meant the entire magazine was a scam and no one would advertise with them now.

I got responses like (these are fairly graphic and if you are easily offended, or under the age of 18, don't read them. Just believe me, they are rude, crude, illiterate, miss the point entirely and prove how ignorant people are)

Shut the FUCK up meredith go take your four eyed old ass somwhere else! you dont even know whats going on , stupid hoe!

You want me to blow up your facebook wall next meredith? then shut your fucking pie hole!

Meredith your too lazy to get your fat ass off your computer chair to join a gym, and to get some contacts! how about some hair from the 20th century? i guess if your gona be wearing glasses you should get some frames that are up to date cause yours are fucking DISGUSTING!

do you take your glasses off when you suck on a big fat cock? your glasses probably smell like hot semen!

No wonder your a lesbian! Your too fucking ugly for a man to ever want you and im sure there isnt many women who would put up with your boring conversation! You probably have spit all over your keyboard! Maybe your single because no one would want to lick your smelly old pussy! And smell your nasty smelling blogging breath! Advice to you, stop talking so much! like i said before NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOU! GO BLOG IN THE SHOWER WITH YOUR FINGER! Wait.. use two fingers, you deserve it Mer!

There were more, interspersed with a few praying for me to find Jesus (wtf did that have to do with anything?) but these were the worst of the lot. I kept my cool, because that's what I do these days and my responses were not angry, maybe a bit snippy, but what do you expect. However the responses got more and more vile, so I ended up deciding I had better things to do with my time than argue with morons.

You know, I'm not angry with these people...they probably realized they didn't really have a reason for being so pissed off so they only thing they could do was write rude and nonsensical insults that made no sense in the context of the conversation. (If you could call that a conversation.)
I feel sorry for them and do I feel like I'm a better person than they are...well...maybe. I'm certainly less ignorant and probably just as bitchy...just in a really highbrow sort of way.

Is this really our society now? Or is the internet just a bad example of humanity? If this is the way the majority of people are then I'm depressed (and will probably be single my entire life).

The really funny thing (and incredibly uplifting to me) is that if I was 14 or 15 these comments would have crippled me. I would have gone home and cried because I had such self-esteem issues, especially when it came to my weight (I'm actually in very good shape these days, won't be running marathons, but I'm not overweight), my glasses, my fashion. Tonight I just find myself laughing, because I know I'm good least to the people that matter and I'm comfortable with my body, my brains, and my fashion.

It's really funny how being insulted by a few morons can make us see how wonderful we really are. Besides, I realized that I'm just getting sassier and becoming more of a smart-ass as I age and what could be more wonderful than that?

Oh and just for some excitement, here is a selection of my rebuttals to their comments.

Ah, what a mature and well constructed answer. Last time I was called "four eyes" was in 2nd grade...nice.
If you think that worries me, think again. I blog about politics and religion, nothing anyone can say will insult me anymore.

Ah, yes. Ad Hominem attacks about my fashion sense, myopia and hair style, how...quaint.
I bet you can't run a mile in 10 minutes. I go to the gym once a day and jog every morning at 5am.

considering the only picture you can see of me is from the chest up and I'm dressed in my comfy sweater in it, your opinion on my physique isn't something I'll trust thanks.
Actually I need to leave, y'know to do my job and contribute to society and then go to the gym. It was nice talking to people that make me feel so much better about myself, because that's really all you did. I see people like you and I feel... sorry for you because this, right here and now, is all you will ever be.
Sorry, what? I just got back from the gym...was there for about 1.5 hours, kinda tired now. However, just popped in to say that since ...none of you want to actually deal with the topic at hand (instead you just make rude, sexual comments because you clearly don't understand anything about...well anything, except sex) I have better things to do with my life so I'm out. Goodnight, have a nice life. Hope you mature at some point in life, but I'm not holding out much hope.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

People seem drawn to violence

I think I speak for all of us when I say that we all find rubberneckers annoying.

For those of you confused by that term, it refers to those assholes who cause backed up traffic for miles on the freeway because they simply must slow down to get every gory detail from a wreck.

I, personally, don't drive, but I've been in a car with someone else driving when we got caught in a traffic jam caused by one of these types and it really grinds my gears like nothing else.

I actually actively hate rubberneckers, if I could slap them I would.

I'm not a violent person *my friends start laughing hysterically* I'm NOT! However, if I could find all of these people I would slap them and it isn't just that they inconvenience people. I have a perfectly legitimate reason for this.

When I was 16 I was in a car accident on the freeway. My brother was driving and we were rear-ended by a guy going way to fast.

Sitting on the side of the freeway, next to our totaled car with a case of whiplash and a migraine from my brain bouncing around in my skull, I experienced a stream of slow moving cars whose occupants stared out from their cars and seemed disappointed that there was no blood. There was no reason for these vultures to slow down, no debris in the road because the forward motion from the crash pushed both cars off onto the shoulder, they weren't stopping to ask if we needed help, they were just attracted to the violence of the scene...excited by it in fact.

I realized today that even if we hate that sort of behavior we are almost hardwired to act that way. I hate people who do that sort of thing and yet I found myself doing it as well.

I went to Jack in the Box to get lunch (don't judge, I ran a mile this morning and it's the only food near my job) and as I walked in a notice that part of the street was closed off. I found out that someone had been hit by a car and they blocked it off to gather evidence. I ordered lunch and then pressed myself up against the window, hoping to see something interesting.
To my credit I stopped as soon as I realized what I was doing, but so much of the time I don't.

Have any of you ever watched America's Funniest Home Videos? I don't know if they make the show anymore, but I grew up watching it and sometimes I watch re-runs if it comes on while my tv is on...usually as background noise while I'm writing or cooking.
Anyway, if you have watched it then you will know what I'm talking about.
Admit it, the videos you laugh hardest at are the ones that involve someone doing something where they get hit, possible maimed or killed from some of the skiiing, dirt biking, snowmobile, and ATV accidents I've seen caught on home video for the show. Though I would like to have enough faith in people to think they would not send in video to a humor show if one of their friends or family members died because of an accident.

It doesn't matter, we are drawn to those videos...we find them uproariously amusing for some reason.
I don't feel as guilty for watching the videos as I do for being fascinated with car wrecks and accidents, after all those videos were sent in by someone specifically in the hope that other people would find it humorous, but still....

I'm no psychologist or, even, sociologist. I just find it odd that we are so fascinated with other people's pain and suffering. I try to remember how it feels to be under the eye of people fascinated with my pain when I find myself watching the aftermath of an accident, that usually stops me in my tracks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gay marriage? Still alive and kicking.

According to HRC (Human Rights Campaign) the State House of Hawaii just passed a bill protecting the rights of same-sex couples in the form of civil unions, HRC has been working with Equality Hawaii since 2008 to get this passed and now the bill only has to get through the state Senate to be put in practice.

HRC's president, Joe Solmonese, had this to say to the Hawaiian government:

The Human Rights Campaign congratulates the Hawaii House of Representatives for overwhelmingly supporting the equal dignity and respect of Hawaii’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families. No child of a same-sex family should have to grow up with less protections or thinking their family is less legitimate or loving than others.

In other news the feelings in New Hampshire about gay marriage are greatly in favor of keeping the law. About 2/3 of the population if the numbers on the polls are correct.

A gay rights advocacy group’s poll found nearly two-thirds of adults oppose repealing the state’s two-year-old law legalizing same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.
The poll of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition found more intense views among those who want to keep the law compared to those who want to repeal it.
 The article does not mention the name of the advocacy group, nor does it give a link to the information from the poll, but it does have a break down of some of the data...I would still prefer to look at the data myself though.

I would like the information to be true, but I'm not the only one with a few doubts apparently.

A spokesman for the socially-conservative, Cornerstone Action NH group, said he doubted the accuracy of this poll and one from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center earlier this week that found 59 percent support for the law.
“Is there an overwhelming majority that wants to repeal the law? No but there is strong support for doing away with it and that’s the mainstream is of New Hampshire and the Republican Party that is the clear majority in Concord,” said Executive Director Kevin Smith.

 Of course you remember my post on Barbara Bush and other various Republican women from last week and if you have been keeping up with the news then you know that GOProud (the new name for the Log Cabin Republicans) is having a very large presence at CPAC this year, an occurrence so offensive to some Republicans that they are skipping the event altogether. Why am I not surprised that Palin is among them?

All of this is beginning to give me the idea that the majority of the Republican party may, possibly, be joining us int the 21st century and changing their party line on gay rights.

And, hey, even if they aren't...states will keep passing the laws.

Change is inevitable.

Monday, February 14, 2011

response to an email I received

I know that people read my blog and I know it isn't just my friends reading it, mostly because I don't have that many friends and I very occasionally receive comments from people I don't know...very occasionally...I'd like to get more though.

However, my email address is on my profile and, once in a blue moon, I will get an email from a reader who apparently didn't actually want to leave a comment that others can read.

I got an email like that a couple of nights ago, the evening after I posted a blog about Glee not being tough enough on bullying in general. Because I received an email and not a comment I won't reveal the complete content of the email, nor anything about the person. I'll only say that I do not know them personally and that I guess I'm glad I can work up a reaction in anyone at all with my blog, even if it's a bad one.

I was basically told in the email that I'm a "traitor" to the homosexual community because I don't want to treat gay-bashing as a worse problem than bullying in general. I get the feeling that the writer only vaguely skimmed my post because that isn't exactly what I said.

I think Glee is doing a disservice to both the gay community and victims of bullying in general by not discussing the impact that general bullying has on teenagers. It does the victims harm because they see a show where, once again, bullying is comedic relief and something that no one ever speaks out against and they are doing the gay community a disservice by making it seems that we only care about gay-bashing and not any other type of bullying.

Lastly, and I will only ever say this once, I was called a 'traitor', but I refuse completely and totally to have my politics, social status, friends, where I live or anything else about my life be decided for me in a herd mentality because I am gay or because I am female. Those are both what I am, but not what I think or believe.
It's not going to happen and if you don't like it...well you don't like it and that's that.

Valentine's day song

A huge number of Broadway actors, actresses and directors have given an answer to "what is the most romantic Broadway love song?" and while I am neither an actress, nor a director I thought I would pick a romantic song for today as well.*

Ironically I was going through my iTunes and looking for a romantic song and I ended up picking two, one of which is a Broadway song.

My first choice is my favorite song of all time and it is Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls. The lyrics and music are just love to me, have been ever since I heard the song when I was 15.

 My second choice is one that has been near to my heart for several years. I'll Cover You from RENT.

While I'm sure some RENTheads would disagree with me, I don't think that Mimi and Roger are the most romantic couple in the play. Angel and Collins have held that spot from the moment I watched the movie and became of obsessed with all things RENT. The song is about real love, taking care of each other when the other can not and loving in spite of knowing that they may not have much time with each other, both being infected with HIV.

And perhaps it is my favorite also because of the reprise, which always has me in tears whether I'm watching the movie, seeing the play on stage or just listening to my iPod.

So, that's my choices for romantic songs this year. We'll see what happens next year.

*I'm single and Valentine's day kinda sucks this year...but I'm trying to stay upbeat.
**These videos are from the RENT movie, not nearly as awesome as the play, but finding video from the recorded live show would have been so much harder.